Tag Archives: Monroe County

Bob Duffy Warns the Partisans

Bob Duffy has gone with the flow quite a bit since taking office, remaining out of direct spotlight whenever partisan issues come up, if possible. I’ve been critical of that many times, especially since the partisanship is actually hitting Rochester and Monroe County where it hurts with things like the FAIR plan.

But apparently, the MCC situation has gotten under his skin. H/T to RochesterTurning for bringing this video to my attention, wherein Duffy lays out in stark terms his displeasure with the nakedly partisan politics – and money grubbing, let’s not lie – of the MCC situation. He even goes as far as to say that the “spirit of cooperation” is cosmetic, which in political terms is quite harsh. Duly so, of course, but harsh nonetheless.

He points out that 25% of MCC students are City residents, and that gives the City a large stake in resolving the issue of the MCC president appointment. Moreover, he goes as far as to threaten that Governor Patterson can even play a role in this by appointing members of the board of the Renn Square project that perhaps the Republicans might not like.

“We’re impacted, I’ve never been asked to submit a name for the board,” he said, “But we have a new governor. And the governor has the ability to put people on the board and Governor Patterson is a true partner with us and I will be in touch with Governor Patterson.”

He says “a lot of things pass through this office,” and that he’ll use as many as he can to change the situation.

On the Meaning of the Word “Plan”

I hesitate to use the word “plan” to describe anything which defines the Renaissance Square “project.” Plans do change, its true. But when every six months brings an entirely new concept to your “plans,” well then, they’re not plans. They’re just crap.

Rochester’s RenSquare gets a new look | democratandchronicle.com | Democrat and Chronicle

A revised design concept and new facades for Renaissance SquareRenaissance Square were unveiled Thursday during a public workshop that drew a modest crowd.

They dangle new union jobs in front of us, but so far, the only people making money are the “planning” peeps.

Deeper Inside the Subprime Numbers

The report issued by Empire Justice on New York’s subprime woes points out that, in fact, about 44% of all subprime mortages in Monroe County (not Rochester, as has been reported on the 13WHAM blog) were in some form of trouble as of October of last year.  Those mortgages are either already in foreclosure, behind by more than 30 days and therefore subject to foreclosure, or about to have their rates “reset,” thus potentially increase to dangerous levels.  Looking at the map that details where in MC the subprimes concentrate, we see some of the old familiar patterns of poverty and debt.  The City NE is particularly hard-hit, as is Gates and Greece, especially where it touches the city.

But another trend is worth noting, which is where the line of suburban sprawl and the line of subprime woes intersect.  Notice that the trend of deep red extends straight across route 104, through Webster, at minimum.  It would be interesting to see how red it is in Wayne County as well.  The subprime troubles seem to skip right over Brighton, then slam back down with force in Pittsford, Perinton and Henrietta.

It’s all part in parcel of the same thing: the focus on fast growth, new home ownership, home construction all lead to people gambling more than they should and getting into trouble.  Since 9-11, the sales of homes have been the only feather in the economic cap of this current presidential administration.  But as we can see, high growth means high risk.  Is it any wonder that the man who has tanked every business he’s ever run now appears to have his hands in his pockets during our economic crisis?

D&C Plays Down the Bear Stearns Impact

Most people tend to think of the media as a means to inform the public. Not the D&C. They see themselves as a vehicle for delivering messages they believe we need to hear for our own good. Whether or not that is the truth is irrelevant.

Take the opinions plummed from the local pool of “experts,” that the Bear Stearns deal isn’t going to have any effect on Rochester at all. Oh, heavens, no! We’re all going to be fine, because we all live in the Monroe County Smug Bubble, unlike all those poor bastards that live elsewhere.

Keep in mind that only 2% of the total national mortgage market is in foreclosure. What does 2% of the Rochester/Monroe County market look like? Well, not much at all. Yet 2% of the nation-wide market is enough to cause a recession (“or at least near, a recession,” in the words of the D&C), so what does that same 2% do to our economy here?

Well, that kind of question is just not acceptable to the D&C. I keep trying to answer that question, lacking as I do the resources of the D&C, but they patently refuse to cover the story at all. Rather, they’d prefer to hear from people who speak of “The Market” as though it was some sort of god, rather than the collective actions of fallible men:

Experts: Area has no bubble to burst | democratandchronicle.com | Democrat and Chronicle

“This is the market’s way of letting other (investment) firms know they should avoid the excesses of Bear Stearns,” Conboy said. “They shouldn’t play the way Bear Stearns played.”

Campaign for Fiscal Equity Joins the F.A.I.R. Fight

As stlo7 at RochesterTurning reports, there are new hearings on the matter of Maggie Brooks’ F.A.I.R. plan and whether she and her County Legislature Republican cronies have violated a couple different laws in passing said piece of tripe.  You might remember that, in December, a Judge Ken Fisher ruled in favour of the County.  On the 28th of this month, the schools and NYSUT are beginning hearings in anticipation of appealing that ruling.

And there’s good news for those fighting the good fight for education funding: it seems that the Campaign for Fiscal Equity appears ready to put it’s weight behind efforts to shut down the F.A.I.R. plan.  This is the same organization that sued New York City and the state for proper funding of students in that city.  That agency is already testifying on behalf of Monroe County schools, as you can see in this document (PDF).

There is more to come, as I check out sources I’ve spoken to and get some confirmation of other developments.

Republicans Annoint Themselves Rulers of M.C.

Amazing. You know you’ve gone too far when you have a nun arrested. Seriously? A fucking nun?

Yes, and the story is at the D&C, RochesterTurning, and our own Carla Palumbo’s blog. I suspect we’ll be hearing from Jon Greenbaum soon, as well.

Dirty deeds, done dirt cheap by our own Rochester Police Department Monroe County Sheriff’s Department (correction by Carla Palumbo, thank you!). Don’t they have some obligation to enforce our rights, too? I guess asking police to say no to Republicans is too much in our current America, but I’d hoped for better. Welcome to our police state, where Republicans set the rules, tap the phones and network connections, appoint the judges, appoint the prosecutors, decide for the governor what is and what is not enforcible at the DMV, rewrite fire codes and beat up nuns.

F.A.I.R Comes Home to Roost

Now that county tax payers are getting their statements and realizing that, in most cases, there was absolutely no benefit in county tax dollars for having had the F.A.I.R. plan forced on them, budget crunches at the schools affected are starting to hit home with an even worse new reality of budget cuts:

Tough Choices for School Districts – 13WHAM.com

Wendy Lane said, “You want to cut some of the special-ed services, and then you want to cut some of the higher-education services. Well, what are you saying? You want these students to just be middle-of-the-road type of students?”

And that’s the rub of school tax cuts: no matter what you cut, you are basically denying students a certain segment of their education. High-performers who would be better-educated in honors classes – and possibly fail out of boredom in general-ed classes – might have to face losing their honors classes. Kids who need a leg up just to pass might face losing out on their best teachers. And of course, the music programs always take a hit when budget cuts happen.

And remember: either tax increases or budget cuts are the only options, here. Unlike the Monroe County budget, school budgets are by law restricted from running deficits of any kind for any reason.  So not only do tax payers get no budget savings from the F.A.I.R. plan, but in fact they may be looking at significant tax increases in the near future.

It didn’t have to be like this. It could at least have had the support of the public. But no, that’s not how Maggie Millions rolls, baby. She’s the decider.

P.D. Meeting: The Public Refused to Leave

It’s both sad and pathetic, with just a little bit of farce, the way the D&C bends over backwards to defend the Republican led Legislature. There was apparently quite the to-do at the Public Defender meeting last night, and I was clearly at the wrong meeting. Channel 10 seems to have decided that the change in policy – discussing which was the point of the meeting – was a foregone conclusion. R-News seems to have done a good job covering the play-by-play of the event. Channel 13 described it as a “fracas,” which if nothing else is a delightful choice of words. RochesterTurning was there to cover the action.

And then there is the Democrat and Chronicle, the Paper of Rectum for the Rochester and Monroe County area. What do they have to say about the incident? Well, that silly body of humanity known as “the public,” just refused to leave the meeting of a democratically elected body:

Public defender meeting shut down after protest || Democrat & Chronicle: Local News

The public refused to leave or listen to the public safety officers who were ordering them out, while legislature Democrats walked out in protest and Assemblyman David Gantt, D-Rochester approached Republican legislators and demanded a merit-based selection process.

Remarkable, isn’t it? There is simply no room in this statement for insubordination to the rule of the Republican Legislature whatsoever. Everyone, including those who elected the body, is expected to toe the line.